By Erin O'Neill
(KSDK) - One day after a Wentzville police officer was killed in a traffic accident, the same department is mourning the death of another officer who lost his battle with cancer.
On Tuesday, Linus Kersting, 57, a 30-year veteran with the department, passed away after battling cancer. Kersting was a school resource officer who enjoyed working with children.
“He had the elementary and the middle schools. He was loved by the kids,” said Wentzville Police Chief Robert Noonan.
Noonan says it's a difficult day for the Wentzville Police Department. Black bunting hangs over the doorway in honor of the two officers.
Officer Sam Vitale was killed Monday afternoon while riding his motorcycle on Highway TT in Warren County near Dutzow, Mo.
Investigators say it appears Vitale, 26, lost control on a curve and his motorcycle crossed the center line. He collided head-on with a pickup truck.
Chief Noonan says Vitale loved to ride his motorcycle outside of work and on the job.
"He was a very proficient motorcycle operator. He was a department motor officer. He went through the training. He took to the training like a duck out of water and he excelled actually much more rapidly than anybody in the department,” said Noonan.
Vitale is survived by his parents and two brothers. He was recently engaged to be married.
Funeral arrangements for both officers are still pending.
Our earlier report
Wentzville police officer killed in motorcycle crash
By Ann Rubin
(KSDK) - The Wentzville Police Department is in mourning after an officer was killed while off-duty.
Officer Sam Vitale, 26, died in a motorcycle accident Monday afternoon in Warren County. It happened around 3:30 on Highway TT near Dutzow, Mo.
Vitale apparently lost control on a curve and his motorcycle crossed the center line. He collided head-on with a pickup truck.
Vitale was taken by ambulance to St. John's Hospital in Washington but it was too late.
Officers gathered Monday night to mourn together, and to hang black bunting outside the department doors in honor of Vitale.
Vitale was a three-year veteran of the department. His colleagues say he'll be missed.
The driver of the pickup truck suffered minor injuries. Highway TT is a scenic Warren County route often traveled by motorcycle enthusiasts.